Friday, July 29, 2016

Video Of The Week: The Strumbellas

The closest thing to a "song of the year" that I hear everywhere (unlike, say, anything by the Eagles Of Death Metal that mostly plays in my headphones) is probably The Strumbellas' Spirits.

One part Arcade Fire, one part Fun., one part Of Monsters And Men and one part The Lumineers, the Canadian band (hailing from the suburbs of Toronto) made waves with that one song, and the video for it, directed by the Juno-nominated Daniel AM Rosenberg, does nothing to squash comparisons with Arcade Fire, what with the disguises and the roaring chorus leading to masses of people getting together and chanting in the streets:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Video Of The Week: Pixies

Since Paz Lenchantin has announced she is now the Pixies' full-time bassist and violinist, what better time to feature Another Toe In the Ocean from 2013's EP1 and 2014's Indie Cindy compilation of all three of the band's recent EPs:

The animated video was written, directed and animated by Liviu Boar, with an entire team of artisans helping out: Barbu Harsan (art direction, post-production, compositing, animation), Cami Cuibus (line art, color), Vlad Botos (background art), Atilla Nagy (background art, 3D modeling and animation), Vlad Harsan (3D modeling), Hunor Illyes (background art), Melinda Raduly (background art), Andrei Zaitiu (post-production, compositing, animation), and Laszlo Demeter (post-production, animation).

I'm curious to hear what the new record will sound like, after the last few releases were good yet underwhelming.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Video of The Week: The Droids

The Droids were a French synth-pop act that was strongly inspired by the film Star Wars (1977), which is pretty obvious in their choice of band name and album title, Star Peace (1978). The bad was comprised of two main members - Fabrice Cuitad and Yves Hayat - although keyboardist Richard Lornac (who also performed with Renaud, Joe Dassin and Marie-Paule Belle, among others) played on every song.

The dancer in their video, taken from a Top Of The Pops-type of French "variété" show, is none other than Chantal Dardenne, a star of the Opéra de Paris and the New York City Ballet:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Video Of The Week: DJ Khaled Featuring Jay Z & Future

I didn't know of DJ Khaled until I saw the one episode of Hot Takes where he totally chickened out and couldn't eat hot wings; I thought he had a pretty big ego for someone whom I'd never heard of and had gone to high school with Joey Fatone of N*Sync.

I'm not saying he's living up to it, but at least his song I Got The Keys, which features rappers Future and Jay Z and whose music was produced and created by Southside, Jake One and G Coop (which really makes you wonder what the fuck Khaled Khaled did on the fucking track to begin with), is somewhat decent.

It was directed in black and white by Daniel Kaufman and features Khaled, Jay Z, and Future, as well as cameos by Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Pusha T, ASAP Ferg, T.I., Swizz Beatz, Fabolous, Yo Gotti, Bryson Tiller and Zoey Dollaz, all playing prison inmates, with fully-armed/borderline military black ops white guys playing the guards:

The racial tension is intense, reflecting the shit going on on American streets, but Jigga rapping how he's still a slave when his marriage with Beyoncé makes his daughter the heiress to a billion-dollar empire is a tad laughable. And the same can be said for Ross - a former correctional officer - and Khaled himself, who grew up in an upper-middle-class/rich family and neighbourhood.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hey, It IS Pride Week

They say all's fair in love and war; and they say team sports are about battling your opponents.

Mitch Marner, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, had this to say about what he intends to do this summer and fall: “I want to make sure I feel comfortable enough to go out against men and play hard, and make sure I can go out there and do the things that I like to do.”
The boy and his mentor choose a suitable mate or position
Don't let anyone get in the way of your dream, Mitch. Go hard against those men and do what you like to do.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Video Of The Week: The Tragically Hip

I know I featured The Tragically Hip not too long ago, but this is a Hip summer, and Ahead By A Century is one of their best songs, from 1996's Trouble At The Henhouse, which could very well be their best record.

The video was directed by Eric Yealland and filmed on a small farm in Brooklin, Ontario. It won the award for "Best Video" at the 1996 MuchMusic Video Awards (i.e. Canada's MTV Awards) and was also nominated for "Best Video" at the 1997 Juno Awards (i.e. Canada's Grammys):

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Top 10 Songs This Week

Yes, I'm bringing this feature back.

It had been stalling, with the same tracks repeating themselves from one week to the next - and while I still listen to stuff that makes its way into my ears consistently, I use the "random" features on all my players a lot more often than I used to - or perhaps more effectively.

And so, as Montrealers celebated Moving Day yesterday, it's time to start a new year with a top 10:

Top 10 Songs:

10. 12:51, The Strokes (2003)
9. LIGHTS TURNED ON, Childish Gambino (2011)
8. IRON MAN (THIS MEANS WAR), Busta Rhymes (featuring Ozzy Osbourne) (1998)
7. WOULD YOU FIGHT FOR MY LOVE?, Jack White (2012)
6. SLAM, Renaud (2016)
5. MASTER PLAN, Dead Messenger (2016)
4. RUN THIS TOWN, Jay-Z (featuring Rihanna & Kanye West) (2009)
3. SHUT 'EM DOWN, Cypress Hill (featuring Tom Morello) (2010)
2. CALIFORNIA'S DARK, The Nightwatchman (2007)
1. COMPLEXITY, Eagles Of Detah Metal (2015)

Video Of The Week: Richard Ashcroft

Ok, I'll be honest, I don't know what to think about this video.

I was a fan of Richard Ashcroft's band The Verve, and I was really into his first two solo albums, Alone With Everybody (2000) and Human Condition (2002), although the latter left me a tad unfulfilled, as if he was phoning it in, particularly lyrically.

Which brings me to his latest single, Hold On, a standard modern pop/dance fare with semi-smart lyrics about the current political state of affairs that is riddled with autotune:

The video, directed by Ashcroft himself, sees him (and him alone) doing what I guess he calls dancing, at times a fist in the air as if he was in the 1968 Olympics or a Rage Against The Machine concert - all in front of a black background.

It's as simplistic as the song. And to think Oasis' Gallagher brothers once thought of this man as the greatest British songwriter of their generation;  guess that's what happens when one befriends Coldplay's Chris Martin, the suck spreads; if you only suffered through the greatest part of their friendship (Coldplay and Ashcroft singing Bittersweet Symphony at Live 8) and didn't attend their joint tour where Ashcroft was the fucking opener (meaning he played for 30 minutes before Coldplay came to test your patience and resistance to ear torture for an hour and a half before regaling you with their one good song, The Scientist), trust me, you have never heard rock bottom.